Buford – The Georgia Office of Victim Services, a division of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles conducted a three-day training conference for the state’s district attorneys and their victim-witness assistance offices.

The first Georgia Office of Victim Services Training Conference began Wednesday, May 25, 2022, and ended Friday, May 27, 2022, at Lake Lanier Islands.

Georgia Office of Victim Services Director Rita Rocker says local and state victim advocates are leaving the training with a renewed enthusiasm for helping crime victims.

“Local victim-witness assistance offices and our office work together to ensure victims receive necessary services to which they are entitled. This conference was about improving victim services at the local and state level,” said Rocker.

Parole Board Chairman Terry Barnard, Vice Chair Jacqueline Bunn and Board Member David Herring attended the sessions. Barnard spoke at the opening ceremony.

“By working together, we can ensure the board has necessary victim information before making a parole decision,” Barnard said.

Rocker says it is important local advocates understand the parole process to provide information to a victim early in the process.

“We were able to connect from a state level with our local victim advocates across Georgia. We were successful in making stronger the services offered to registered crime victims in Georgia,” she said.

The Georgia Office of Victim Services provided information to the district attorneys and staff about victim notifications, the victim-attempt-to-locate program, unwanted offender contact with victims, restitution and much more.

The conference included comments from crime survivors who spoke about their experiences as crime victims.

Agency leaders addressed the conference including the Parole Board Members, Department of Corrections Commissioner Tim Ward, Department of Community Supervision Field Operations Director Patrick Holsey, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vic Reynolds, Criminal Justice Coordinating Council Executive Director Jay Neal, and Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia Executive Director Peter Skandalakis. 

The Georgia Office of Victim Services is supported by the Parole Board, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Community Supervision.

To learn more about crime victim services visit pap.georgia.gov.

Contact the Office of Communications at 404-657-9450 or [email protected].